From losing weight to having more energy, being healthier in the new year is a common goal. Sometimes, replacing unhealthy habits with better ones can be a simple solution to help you inch closer to them.
Here are five habits to work on in 2016:
1. Habit: Eating late at night.
Eating late at night is all bad. You’re generally inactive for the remainder of the day, which doesn’t give your body enough time to metabolize what you eat.
Replacement: Drink half your weight in ounces each day.
Thirst is often mistaken for hunger so when you think you’re hungry, your body just may be in need of more fluids. Instead of reaching for that late-night snack, try another glass of water or even a cup of caffeine-free tea.
2. Habit: Drinking too much juice or soda.
We all know that drinking too much juice and soda is bad for our bodies, but that doesn’t stop many of us from overindulging.
Replacement: Drinking a green smoothie a day.
Sometimes, you want something to drink that’s cold and refreshing, but still tastes good. Smoothies can be just what you need, and they provide an opportunity to pack in more nutrients and green vegetables. Find tasty recipes that incorporate both fruits and vegetables to maximize your smoothies’ benefits.
3. Habit: Consuming too much salt.
Traditionally, salt is a primary source of food seasoning in the Black community. And, that sodium is a major cause of high blood pressure or hypertension. Over 40 percent of African-Americans have this problem, according to the American Heart Association, which often develops earlier in life than with whites who have the same disease.
Replacement: Switch your seasoning.
Try alternate sources of seasoning such as allspice, cilantro, garlic, rosemary or other natural herbs and spices recommended by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute when cooking.
4. Habit: Watching too much TV.
Your mom was right: watching too much television can be bad. It forces you to be inactive, encourages snacking when you’re not hungry, and some studies claim it even negatively impacts how your brain works.
Replacement: Get moving.
You won’t watch as much television when you’re actually tracking it. Instead of binge watching your favorite shows every day, try the 2/30 rule as a goal: 2 hours of TV and 30 minutes of exercise. You can also incorporate your workouts into your favorite shows, doing exercises while you watch.
5. Habit: Eating too much fast food.
If you’re a part of the 80 percent of Americans that eat fast food, you’re certainly not alone. But, it’s hard to control what you consume in a meal when you’re not the person who prepared it. So, even if you’re choosing a low-calorie option, you’re still subject to other issues like unknown ingredients, bacteria outbreaks and poorly made food.
Replacement: Pre-planning your meals.
Pre-planning your meals in advance can help you stay on track and avoid making last-minute decisions to eat out. Buy containers that make it easier to transport your meals with you and schedule time to prepare both meals and snacks. On busy mornings, you can just grab them and go.